Bossier Schools will be picking up a large portion of the tab to extend higher learning opportunities to students beginning in 2017-18 that are critical to their academic success as well as graduation.

In response to funding cuts and increased costs extended to students pursuing Advanced Placement (AP) courses, the College Level Examination Program (CLEP), Dual Enrollment credits and Industry Based Certifications (IBCs), the Bossier Parish School Board is stepping in to ensure no child is left behind due to financial constraints.

Faced with the reality of many students being required to pay hundreds of dollars out of pocket to accrue the necessary certifications now required by Louisiana to receive a Jump Start Career Diploma, as well as their pursuit of collegiate level courses, Finance Committee Chairman Eric Newman brought the funding dilemma to the attention of the full Board.

In a unanimous vote at its May 18, 2017 meeting, the Bossier Parish School Board approved allocating up to $300,000 in interest each year from the Bossier Educational Excellence Fund (BEEF) to ease the financial burden on students and their families. Thanks to this action, $30 is the most a Bossier Parish student will have to pay for an AP or Dual Enrollment course, CLEP test or IBC.

Newman worked closely with Bossier Schools’ Curriculum and Career and Technical Education departments to craft the proposal.

“It will not be based on financial need, but rather extended to all students, leveling the playing field for those academically capable of pursuing these advanced learning opportunities,” Newman said. “By taking away the financial burden, this clears the way for Bossier Parish students’ academic and career ambitions while also negating the potential of students dropping out solely because of money.”

BEEF was established in 1985 by former Senator Foster Campbell as a trust fund for Bossier Parish Schools, in which the principal remains protected but the interest can be spent for classroom enhancements and student learning.